Petaluma Health Care District Appoints Local Financial Advisor Joseph Stern to Board of Directors

Petaluma Health Care District (PHCD), a community owned and operated public agency working to improve the health and well-being of Southern Sonoma County residents through leadership, advocacy, support, partnerships and education, proudly welcomes Member at Large Joseph Stern to its Board of Directors. Filling the seat recently vacated by Petaluma Health Center CEO Kathie Powell, Stern’s appointment begins immediately and will run through the current term ending in Nov. 2016, at which point a general election will be held. Stern is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Petaluma and has been a resident of the community for the past 14 years.

PHCD’s Board of Directors is a publicly-elected five-member board made up of community volunteers serving four-year terms and working in coordination with CEO Ramona Faith. Board members may serve consecutive terms. In addition to Stern, the current board includes President Elece Hempel, Vice President Dr. Robert Ostroff, Treasurer Josephine Thornton and Secretary Fran Adams. Following Powell’s resignation effective July 14, 2015, the Board posted a Notice of Vacancy soliciting applications for appointment. Upon review of the applicants and public comments, Stern was appointed to the position on Sept. 3 and has been cleared of any potential conflicts, a standard practice for those serving on a public board.

“We are greatly looking forward to adding Joe’s analytical viewpoint, financial expertise and community-minded dedication to PHCD’s Board,” said Faith. “We sincerely appreciate the interest all the applicants have taken in our work, and thank Joe for his willingness to make this commitment for the betterment of our community.”

“I have been honored to serve as a member of PHCD’s Board of Directors for the past eight years and am so proud of the strides we have made towards improving the health status of our community,” said Powell. “I look forward to continuing to partner with the District on strengthening the spectrum of health services available for all residents. PHCD is a critical resource and steadfast advocate for addressing health inequities in our community.”

Stern has been a financial advisor for more than 20 years, working with clients in the community on a range of investment needs, from retirement planning to saving for college to individual estate issues. Deeply involved in Petaluma and Sonoma County, he has served on committees for the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce and Boys & Girls Club of Southern Sonoma County. In addition, Stern has volunteered his time to local organizations such as the Committee to the Shelterless (COTS), Petaluma Bounty, Petaluma Educational Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association. He earned his B.A. from Wabash College in Indiana and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.

PHCD navigates and identifies the health needs and priorities of local residents, and provides or supports services and programs in response to these needs. PHCD also ensures access to high-quality health care services, as it owns Petaluma Valley Hospital and leases its operations to St. Joseph Health. This lease ends in January 2017 and the Board has been engaged in a due diligence process to determine the hospital’s future. This process includes a thorough evaluation of current and future health care needs in the community; hospital operations and finances; the current health care landscape locally, regionally and statewide; future trends in health care delivery; and future partnerships.

Added Faith, “Our board is steadfast in carrying out our mission of serving the health needs of Southern Sonoma County and Joe’s business and financial expertise balances out the collective experience within our board, particularly as we continue through the important steps in determining the most viable options for operating Petaluma Valley Hospital.”

An exciting year of accomplishments, PHCD was named the 2015 Healthcare District of the Year by the Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD). The award, given to just one out of 78 districts, touted PHCD’s model of convening unconventional partners across all sectors to take action and improve local health issues, and highlighted two of PHCD’s community initiatives, Community Health Initiative of the Petaluma Area (CHIPA) and HeartSafe Community. In June, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and Petaluma City Council designated Petaluma a HeartSafe Community, formally celebrating PHCD’s efforts to address heart health education and provide life-saving CPR trainings to combat Sudden Cardiac Arrest. In addition, on May 4, the Petaluma City Council officially declared May 2015 as “Health Care District Month” in recognition of the essential role PHCD plays in Southern Sonoma County and acknowledging the importance of educating the community on its work, programs and services.

 About Petaluma Health Care District

The Petaluma Health Care District (PHCD) is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the Southern Sonoma County community through leadership, advocacy, support, partnerships and education. Its vision is to foster a healthier community, a thriving hospital and local access to comprehensive health and wellness services. PHCD has served the health and wellness needs of the community for 70 years and is a public agency managed by the community for the community. For more information, please visit

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